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Girls’ high schools: Brady, Stark advance to Capital Area championship

  • Bishop Brady’s Marissa Payne (23) blocks a shot from Bow’s Megan Remick (30) on Saturday during the Green Giants’ semifinal victory at the Capital Area Holiday Tournament at NHTI. Nolan McGurn /

  • Bow’s Lauren Goyette (10) lifts a shot in front of Bishop Brady’s Isabella Rivera (right) on Saturday during the Capital Area Holiday Tournament at NHTI. Nolan McGurn / Nolan

  • Bow’s Taylor Burnham dribbles away from Bishop Brady defenders on Saturday during the Capital Area Holiday Tournament at NHTI. Nolan McGurn / NolanMcGurnPhotography

  • Bishop Brady’s Ami Rivera dribbles the ball on Saturday during her team’s Capital Area Holiday Tournament semifinal victory over Bow. Brady is seeking a third straight title. Nolan McGurn / Nolan McGurn Photography

  • Bow’s Lauren Goyette (left) dribbles while Bishop Brady’s Isabella Rivera (right) defends on Saturday at the Capital Area Holiday Tournament at NHTI. Nolan McGurn /

Monitor staff
Published: 12/30/2018 12:43:25 AM

For Ami Rivera, last year’s annual Capital Area Holiday Tournament served as a breakout party. This year, the sophomore guard is using it to send a message to the rest of Division II: the Bishop Brady girls’ basketball team is here to stay.

In their first tournament appearance since the departure of perennial All-State selection Sam Will, the new-look Green Giants produced the same old results. Leaning on Rivera’s game-high 16 points, Bishop Brady strolled to its third straight title game Friday with a 52-34 win over Bow in the girls’ semifinals at NHTI.

Brady will take on John Stark for the girls’ title on Sunday at 1 p.m.

“Just the energy that the crowd provides is great. It’s not like a normal game,” said the 5-foot-4 Rivera, who was named Tournament MVP last year after helping Brady capture the championship. “(This year) has definitely been new. It’s different, but we’re learning.”

Filling in the voids left behind by Will, now a freshman on the Cornell women’s basketball team, and two other senior captains (Sarah Doherty, Lauren Roy) wasn’t an easy task, but the Green Giants have found a way to plug the holes with young talent and haven’t skipped a beat.

“I think we’re in the middle of that process,” Bishop Brady coach Annie Alosa said. “We talk a lot about roles and goals, both individually and as a team. But if you ask me right now where we are, we’re smack center in the middle of that process of learning each other and increasing our roles.”

For Rivera, it means more responsibility and a larger load of minutes, and the diminutive guard doesn’t seem to mind the spotlight.

Rivera sparked the team over Bow by scoring 10 of Brady’s first 23 points for a quick 14-point advantage. She hit two 3s in the opening half – one in each quarter – and helped set the tempo as the Green Giants consistently beat the Falcons’ press for easy buckets under the rim.

“She has been rotating around the point and two guard. She brings a gamer’s mentality and she just loves to compete,” Alosa said of Rivera, who added four steals and nine rebounds to her final line. “I think she likes the pressure, and in a sense, she’s stepping into a really big role for us this year and showing a lot of versatility.”

The Falcons, meanwhile, had a difficult time keeping pace.

While the Green Giants came out on fire shooting 50 percent (6 of 12) from the floor in the first quarter and 44 percent (4 of 9) in the second, Bow went 0-for-17 in the opening frame and didn’t have its first make from the floor until Jessica Chamberlin’s floater dropped with 7:05 to go in the second.

Megan Remick paced the Falcons with eight points and nine rebounds, and was followed by Taylor Burnham (seven points, two steals) and Madison Speckman (five points).

“We knew at the beginning of the year we would have a tough time generating offense,” Bow coach Bill Vermette said. “Now it’s not just the fact that we’re having a tough time generating it, we’re having a tough time executing it. We’re a long way from being where we want to be at both ends of the floor.”

The Falcons did manage to slow Brady down in the second half, but it didn’t come until after a 3-pointer by Libbey Hicks put the Green Giants ahead by 19 points (38-19) midway through the third quarter.

“We’re trying to get some positives and give them some positives all the time,” Vermette said. “But there’s one or two positives here or there and we need eight or 10, not one or two.”

Rivera was joined by three other teammates in double figures for the Green Giants, including 10 points apiece for Halle Laramie and Marissa Payne, as well as 11 points on a 5-for-8 shooting night for Hicks.

Bishop Brady now gets a shot at history when it tries to join Concord as the only team to three-peat since the start of the girls’ tournament in 1980.

John Stark 41, Concord 23

On a cold shooting night for the Tide, Chelsea Woodsum and Anna Stenger provided all the offense the John Stark girls’ basketball team would need.

Woodsum poured in a game-high 17 points, Stenger added 15 and the Generals took down Concord, 41-23, to reach their first championship game of the Capital Area Holiday Tournament since winning it all in both 2003 and 2004.

In a first quarter where the two sides combined to shoot 0-for-18 from the floor, Stark took a narrow 5-2 lead into the second and a 15-8 advantage into halftime. But with a stingy defensive effort in the third quarter, the Generals put the contest out of reach.

Stark outscored Concord, 15-1, in the third quarter and bullied the Tide in the paint with Woodsum to take control. Autumn Nelson also showed off how disruptive she can be in the passing lanes, rounding out her five points with eight steals, eight assists and seven rebounds for the Generals.

Concord was led by Shayla Weeden with five points. Elizabeth Cox and Jessica White each finished with four points.

(Jay McAree can be reached at 369-3371, or on Twitter @JayMcAree.)

Girls’ basketball

Coe-Brown 38, Mount Royal 35

Key players: Coe-Brown – Lauren Curtin (11 points, 5 rebounds), Val White (7 points, 8 rebounds), Natalie Harris (6 points, 7 rebounds), Angelina Rene (6 points, 6 rebounds)

Highlights: The Bears struggled with shooting in the first half, missing a lot of open shots to trail 14-11 at halftime, but Coe-Brown came back for its second Epping Holiday Tournament victory.

Coach’s quote: “It was a rough first half scoring-wise. We were impatient and rushed our offense early. In the third we moved the ball and it paid off. Another day of learning for this crew.” – Coe-Brown’s Joe Vachon

Franklin 32, Lin-Wood 26

Key players: Franklin – Clarissa Martin (10 points), Haile Turner (6 points)

Highlights: The Tornadoes were without two starters, but the bench stepped up and Franklin played good defense, ending their Mike Lee Holiday Bash with a consolation victory. The Tornadoes were eliminated from the title contention with a 61-18 loss to host Farmington on Thursday.

Coach’s quote: “A good team win and our young players got valuable minutes and held their own.” – Franklin’s JJ Winters

Girls’ indoor track

Concord 6th

Key players: Concord – Grace Devanny (1st 55 dash, 1st 300), Sarah Zarakotas (3rd 1,000), Morgane Orcutt (6th 1,500),

Highlights: Devanny won the 55 dash in 7.54 seconds and the 300 in 42.34 seconds to lead the Tide to sixth in a nine-team meet at UNH. Exeter (75) and Pinkerton (62) were the top two teams, while Concord finished with 23 points. The Tide also had scoring from its fifth-place 4x400 (Zarakotas, Orcutt, Brianna Malette, Serena Britos) and sixth-place 4x160 (Samantha Ossoff, Faith Hatcher, Devanny, Sarah Waite).

Pembroke 2nd

Key players: Pembroke – Cassidy Rondeau (2nd long jump), Lilly Curtis (2nd high jump), Molly Keyes (3rd 55 hurdles), Madison Bennett (4th 55 dash), Alysse Cleasby (5th 600), Amanda Montminy (6th 300)

Highlights: The Spartans finished second in a 10-team meet at UNH thanks to strong performances from all three relays. The 4x400 (Alison Corriveau, Montminy, Rondeau, Isobella Gill) finished first, the 4x160 (Corriveau, Rondeau, Keyes, Bennett) finished second and the 4x800 (Cleasby, Avery Gamache, Charlotte Corbitt, Gill) finished third. Pembroke scored 50 points, second only to Oyster River (66).

Merrimack Valley 5th,
Belmont 7th, Bishop Brady 8th, Winnisquam 14th

Key players: MV – Sophia Reynolds (1st 1,500), Rebecca Williams (4th 55 hurdles), Madisyn Garrity (5th 55 hurdles), Noelle Colarusso (5th high jump), Addie Hodge (5th long jump), Madison Palmer (6th long jump); Belmont – Sana Syed (1st 55 hurdles in 9.72), Jada Edgren (4th 55 dash), Alice Riley (5th 1,500); Bishop Brady – Abby Shagena (2nd 600, tied 6th high jump); Winnisquam – Faith Gosselin (6th 1,500)

Highlights: Reynolds won the 1,500 in 4:48 and also ran on the second-place 4x400 relay with Cassidy Considine, Hodge and Garrity to lead the Pride to fifth place as a team in a 14-team meet at Plymouth State. The 4x200 of Palmer, Tabitha Nugent, Elizabeth LaRoche and Williams also placed. Milford (80 points), Sanborn (47), Kingswood (43) and Souhegan (30.5) were the top four teams. MV scored 28 points to finish fifth, while Belmont (11) and Bishop Brady (9.5) finished seventh and eighth. Brady’s 4x200 relay of Sarah Sponenberg, Ashlyn Toupin, Shagena and Lauren Bietler finished fifth. Winnisquam finished 14th with a single point.

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